Agricultural Economics

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    Socio-economic traits and constraints associated with smallholder farmers in Taungya agroforestry program in Sudan
    (Springer Nature, 2023-05-19) Hemida, Mohamed; Vityi, Andrea; Hammad, Zeinab M.
    Empirical evidence of Taungya agroforestry program in Sudan was generated. The objectives were to examine the association between socio-economic characteristics of farmers and Tuangya practice, assess the program’s contribution to farmers' income, and highlight farmers’ major incentives and constraints. The purposive sampling technique was applied targeting 200 Taungya farmers. Data were collected using questionnaires, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct field observations, and document reviews. Descriptive statistics, the chi-square test, and a paired sample t-test were used to analyze the data. Study results showed that 77% of farmers were male, with an average age of 41 years. About 77% of farmers cultivate an average land area of 3.5 hectares. The chi-square result showed that socio-economic characteristics such as marital status, age, family size, year of participation, and educational level had a significant association with Taungya practice, while gender, main occupation, and land size had no significant association. The study revealed that Taungya agroforestry program contributed significantly to farmers’ income. Evidence of that was the sharp reduction in mean annual costs from SDG 32,851.75 to SDG 25,107.50, and a substantial increase in the mean annual net incomes of the farmers from SDG 35,298.52 to SDG 91,839.50 before and after participation, respectively. Farmers’ participation was encouraged by the high productivity within the forest and access to free fertile land. Contrary, lack of extension services and supervision from Forest National Corporation, overgrazing and crop destruction, land size limitation, and crop species restrictions were identified as major challenges. The study suggests that prioritizing extension services, providing live fencing, and reconsidering farmers’ interest in having intercropping sorghum on their farms to improve their sustenance will overcome the constraints and further boost farmers' productivity.
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    Community financing for sustainable food and farming: a proximity perspective
    (Springer Nature, 2022-03-22) Behrendt, Gerlinde; Peter, Sarah; Sterly, Simone; Häring, Anna Maria
    An increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the German organic agri-food sector involves citizens through different community financing models. While such models provide alternative funding sources as well as marketing opportunities to SMEs, they allow private investors to combine their financial and ethical concerns by directly supporting the development of a more sustainable food system. Due to the low level of financial intermediation, community financing is characterized by close relations between investors and investees. Against this background, we apply the proximity concept from economic geography to explore spatial and relational aspects of community financing in the German organic agri-food sector. Based on a qualitative multiple case study approach, we find that the relevance of proximity is twofold. While different forms of proximity between SMEs and their potential investors are key success factors, proximity is also considered as one desired outcome of community financing. Furthermore, our results reveal that the extent to which SMEs rely on particular proximity dimensions distinguishes two different approaches to community financing.
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    Financial incentives often fail to reconcile agricultural productivity and pro-conservation behavior
    (Springer Nature, 2023-02-08) Bell, Andrew Reid; Rakotonarivo, O. Sarobidy; Bhargava, Apurva; Duthie, A. Bradley; Zhang, Wei; Sargent, Rebecca; Lewis, Amy R.; Kipchumba, Adams
    Paying resource users to preserve features of their environment could in theory better align production and conservation goals. We show, however, that across a range of conservation dilemmas, they might not. We conduct a synthesis of dynamic games experiments built around collective action dilemmas in conservation, played across Europe, Africa, and Asia. We find, across this range of dilemmas, that while payments can encourage pro-conservation behavior, they often fail to capitalize on the potential for jointly improving productive and environmental outcomes, highlighting the more nuanced challenge of reconciling livelihoods with conservation goals. We further find production (yield) and the joint production-environment product (i.e., a measure of agricultural production multiplied by a measure of pro-conservation practice) are better preserved in groups that are more educated, more gender diverse and that better represent women. We discuss how the design of incentive programs can better align livelihood and environment goals.
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    Off to market: but which one? Understanding the participation of small-scale farmers in short food supply chains—a Hungarian case study
    (Springer Nature, 2017-10-23) Benedek, Zsófia; Fertő, Imre; Molnár, Adrienn
    The research described in this paper was designed to identify the factors that influence the importance small-scale farmers place on different marketing channels of short food supply chains. The focus concerns two entirely different types of market that are present in the bigger cities in Hungary: ‘conventional’ markets where there are no restrictions on locality but the farmer-market relationship is based on binding contracts, and newly-emergent farmers’ markets at which only local growers can sell ad hoc, using their own portable facilities. Results are based on a survey that was conducted in 2013 among 156 Hungarian market oriented farmer-vendors at different types of market and confirm that different markets are visited by different types of farmers. Farmers who favour conventional markets are typically less educated, operate on smaller scales and are more committed to their chosen markets via long-term contracts (which reduce the probability of their trying other outlets). The preference for farmers’ markets is stronger with farmers who are more open to cooperation, have specific investment plans for developing their farms and among those who are specifically looking to directly interact with their customers to avoid middlemen. The relevance of the findings is highlighted by the ongoing Short Food Supply Chain Thematic Sub-programme in the present European Union financing period; farmers’ profiles in any given marketing channel must be understood if short food supply chains are to be effectively promoted. Different types of small-scale farmers will benefit from different supporting frameworks, interventions, and initiatives.
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    Metropolitan farmers markets in Minneapolis and Vienna: a values-based comparison
    (Springer Nature, 2017-05-22) Kilmek, Milena; Bingen, Jim; Freyer, Bernhard
    Farmers markets (FMs) have traditionally served as a space for farmers to sell directly to consumers. Recently, many FMs in the US and other regions have experienced a renaissance. This article compares the different value sets embedded in the rules and norms of two metropolitan FM regions—Minneapolis, Minnesota and in Vienna, Austria. It uses a values-based framework that reflects the relationships among FM operating structures (OS) and their values reflected by the key FM participants—i.e., farmer/vendors, consumers and market managers. The framework allows us to focus on two very contrasting value sets of metropolitan FM regions in (1) presenting and discussing the values found and embedded in the two metropolitan market regions; (2) illustrating how the values found are embodied as rules and norms in each FM region; (3) considering the alignment or not of FM participant values with their corresponding FM values; and (4) the differences and commonalities as well as the benefits and challenges of the two market regions. In contrasting metropolitan FMs we explain that FM value sets are complex and differ among and within FM participant groups and are dependent on their respective OS. We show that contrasting two metropolitan FM regions can be useful in understanding beneficial and disadvantageous relationships between the values and structures of, and in FMs, and specifically in examining institutional impediments such as governance. Thus we illustrate the possibilities and limitations of values for and within metropolitan FMs.
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    Tackling land’s ‘stubborn materiality’: the interplay of imaginaries, data and digital technologies within farmland assetization
    (Springer Nature, 2023-05-01) Sippel, Sarah Ruth
    The nature of farming is – still – an essentially biological, and thus volatile, system, which poses substantial challenges to its integration into financialized capitalism. Financial investors often seek stability and predictability of returns that are hardly compatible with agriculture – but which are increasingly seen as achievable through data and digital farming technologies. This paper investigates how farmland investment brokers engage with, perceive, and produce farming data for their investors within a co-constructive process. Tackling land’s ‘stubborn materiality’ for investment, I argue, has material and immaterial components: it includes the re-imagination of farming as a financial asset that delivers reliable income streams for investors; and the re-engineering of farmland’s concrete materialities with digital farming technologies. Farmland investment brokers develop investor-suitable farmland imaginaries, underpinned by storytelling as well as the calculative ‘evidence’ of (digital) data. At the same time, digital technologies have become a key tool for transforming farms into ‘investment grade assets’ endowed with the rich data on farm performance and financial returns requested by investors. I conclude that the assetization and digitization of farmland need to be seen as closely intertwined and mutually reinforcing processes and identify key areas for future research on this intersection.
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    All roads lead to the farmers market?: using network analysis to measure the orientation and central actors in a community food system through a case comparison of Yolo and Sacramento County, California
    (Springer Nature, 2022-08-18) Fuchs-Chesney, Jordana; Raj, Subhashni; Daruwalla, Tishtar; Brinkley, Catherine
    Little is known about how farms and markets are connected. Identifying critical gaps and central hubs in food systems is of importance in addressing a variety of concerns, such as navigating rapid shifts in marketing practices as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and related food shortages. The constellation of growers and markets can also reinforce opportunities to shift growing and eating policies and practices with attention to addressing racial and income inequities in food system ownership and access. With this research, we compare network methods for measuring centrality and sociospatial orientations in food systems using two of America’s most high-producing agricultural counties. Though the counties are adjacent, we demonstrate that their community food systems have little overlap in contributing farms and markets. Our findings show that the community food system for Yolo County is tightly interwoven with Bay Area restaurants and farmers’ markets. The adjacent county, Sacramento, branded itself as America’s Farm-to-Fork capital in 2012 and possesses network hubs focused more on grocery stores and restaurants. In both counties, the most central actors differ and have been involved with the community food system for decades. Such findings have implications beyond the case studies, and we conclude with considerations for how our methods could be standardized in the national agricultural census.
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    Sorghum production in Nigeria: opportunities, constraints, and recommendations
    (Taylor & Francis Group - Informa UK Limited, 2022-03-10) Yahaya, Muhammad Ahmad; Shimelis, Hussein; Nebie, Baloua; Ojiewo, Chris O.; Danso-Abbeam, Gideon
    Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench) production has considerable socio-economic values in sub-Saharan Africa for food security and to serve the increased industrial demands due to high population pressure and climate change. However, the production and productivity of the crop are yet to be expounded in Nigeria for economic gains. Therefore, the objective of this study was to present the current opportunities and constraints to sorghum production in Nigeria. A participatory rural appraisal (PRA) study was conducted in three selected sorghum growing zones in northern Nigeria involving 250 farmers. Socio-economic data were collected through surveys and focus group discussions. Sorghum was cultivated mainly by males (80%) who had grade 6-12 level of education (31.3%), with the productive age of 21-45 years (75.7%) and a household family size of below five members (52.3%). Low yielding landrace varieties such as Kaura (37.4%) and Fara-fara (29.3%) were the most widely cultivated types across the study zones due to their good grain quality. The major farmers’ preferred traits from a sorghum variety were high yield, drought tolerance and Striga resistance. The study recommends integrated sorghum technology development incorporating the described preferences of the farmers for sustainable production and economic gains of the crop.